Solo Piano

David Arner

Although David Arner’s SOLO PIANO, on Dogstar Records, has been released for awhile, it has recently come to my attention. Arner is a member of the audience at many of the concerts of improvised music which I attend. Based on this fact, I thought to find his music to listen to and see if the correlation in our tastes translated to his own musical invention. It was no surprise that it did.

The origins of Arner’s pianistic vocabulary is unquestionably clear in the first phrases that he plays. I was going to use the word “measures” instead of phrases to describe what he plays but this would put his improvisation into a false context. The idea of meter and classical composition comes forth starkly in this recording and he alludes to the music of specific classical composers, yet when comparing Arner’s phraseology to that of composed music, I can hear the difference. Arner’s music, though incredibly detailed and formal, is free. It is music that is created as a result of the assimilation of a vast body of knowledge about the classical music of the era that changed the way music composition was approached in some cases and how music changed as a result of cultural milieu, particularly in the mid 20th century.

This music is not angry; it is direct. This music is sometimes playful, not messy. This music touches on an entire body of methodologies, extending, for example, to that of early piano jazz and songbook jazz. This music demonstrates how Arner casts a huge net of thoughtful expressionism over an intelligent group of statements to be collected and placed into a recording that has great continuity within absolute contrast, one cut to the other. Arner knows internally the vastness of the task of honing in on appropriate means of assembling within one recording a balance of experience with innovation.

With Glenn Gould perseverance, Arner has planted a valuable seed in the improvised piano field of dreams. What is extremely tantalizing is his ability to go through the entire recording pulling, and tugging, and springing off the keyboard to burst out at times with a powerfully rhythmic hammering of the keys, glissandos, studious mid-register repetitions, or simply, a mild scattering of notes & chords counteracted with carefully chosen nearly twelve tone pitch arrays that travel to a just end.

Arner’s fingers speak with a soft gentle intention. He is dedicated to the service of the mastery of the acoustic piano keyboard. A reverence to it is so blatantly indicated that his music can inspire graciously and thankfully a deep emotional response to its sincere seriousness.

Reviewed by: Lyn Horton


Price: $16.00